Ekta -The Talk Show- Ep 2

Disclaimer: All characters in Ekta Talk Show are modelled after REAL characters and their experiences are entirely based on true stories. Ekta is the manifestation of an imaginary conversation between these characters, in a hypothetical scenario of their meeting. Head straight to the conversation if you read ep- 1 and don’t need an introduction about Ekta. In this episode, my own experiences are shared through the character of Vriksha!

Ladies and gentlemen, a warm welcome to yet another enriching episode of our monthly talk show, Ekta. I’m Shubhang Mishra, the host for this show.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

If you are here for the first time, welcome warmly to a world of intriguing discussions, diverse perspectives and the story and struggles associated with both the sides of the coin. Ekta’s motto is: Talk your way to unity.

There is beauty in diversity and Ekta celebrates it through an open discussion between the holders of diverse notions and those who lie in opposite sides of the road- victim and perpetrator, leftist and rightist, impoverished and millionaire, and what not! Feel absolutely free to check out the First episode of Ekta!

Our guests today have both had to travel a long way to get here. Let’s welcome Vriksha Rao and Nandini Nair with a round of applause! Vriksha and Nandini, please take your seats.

Welcome to Ekta. Please tell us about yourselves and let our audience know why our team has picked you to be here with us today.

Nandini: Namaste, I’m Nandini Nair. I hail from God’s own country, Kerala. I happen to be the first transgender doctor of my state. It was a difficult yet promising road and Ekta wants me to share my experiences with the world, with an intention to inspire many more transgender men and women to follow their dreams.

Vriksha: I’m Vriksha, 16 years old, originally from AP but born and brought up in Tamil Nadu. Ekta’s team got in touch with me to interact with a transgender, which at that instant seemed ghastly, but I warmed up to the idea as I’ve always wanted to hear their story. They often come across as people one needs to be safe around, but I’m sure they’re not all the same.

Vriksha, you mentioned that one needs to be safe around transgenders. Does this apprehension stem from received notions and stereotypes or a personal encounter you had with a transgender?

Vriksha: Mine very much stems from personal experiences. Every little encounter I’ve had with transgenders has been absolutely traumatising. My mother tells me that their tendency to steal from and bully random people on the roads is mostly due to the stigma surrounding their gender, which we so insensitively endorse. God created a third gender, but WE created the stigma. So in a way, we have earned it.

Nandini: That’s a very considerate statement you’ve made, given that you’ve had nothing but unpleasant experiences with our community. I’d like to hear you elaborate on some of these traumatising instances you’d referred to.

Vriksha: There are plenty.

I was 8-years old, in an accessories store. The store was owned and run by very religious Muslims and they were diligent, sincere businessmen. That day, a trans woman happened to come by and demanded money from the man at the counter. He said there wasn’t enough money just yet and that they were yet to meet the day’s goal. The woman started swearing at the man, not a word that I could understand, yelled at him fiercely and asked him to give her the money. She said she’d take it herself if he did not oblige. He was stunned and didn’t know what to do as he’d be answerable to his owner if the day’s goals were not met. He gave her some money, but not enough to gratify her. She demanded more money, this time more aggressively, to which the man stood in utter stillness. She got out of the shop, stood in the busy pavement, STRIPPED OFF all her clothes and yelled violently, asking passer-bys for “justice”. She went on to remove all her layers and continued to yell. The man was extremely embarrassed. I was terrified and hid in a little corner upstairs, watching all of this.

In another instance, my mother was a victim. She was in a road-side tea shop with her colleague. A group of transgenders came by and demanded money. As she took out her purse to give them some money, one of them grabbed the purse, took all the cash and hid it in their sari. They said “I shall bless you and return as much of your money as God asks me to.” They took a substantial amount and gave her the rest. One simply cannot rebel against them. Our experiences have taught us that the hard way. There are many more but I shall stop here.

That is traumatising indeed for an 8 year old to witness, Vriksha. Nandini, can you tell us why transgenders behave the way they do and have such a reputation?

Nandini: When the transition happens during the teenage years, transgenders move out of their homes to live with their community. I was an exception, which is also due to the fact that I had supportive friends and family, unlike the case with the majority of them. They strive hard to find a job, which they may never accomplish due to the absence of tight laws to ensure their progress. They live in impoverished conditions, can’t get educated, which itself is a reason for their unemployment. Another reason they can’t get a job is, they’re TRANSGENDERS and no one would give them a job. Due to this, they harass people and earn a living. Their survival instincts push them to do so.

What were some of the challenges you faced in your journey?

Nandini: Naturally, the stigma surrounding the third gender affects me professionally quite a bit. Every successful transgender man and woman are SELF-MADE! They will not be handed a job due to scepticism. When they do find a job for themselves, they will not have regular customers or in my case, patients, due to the same reason- scepticism. We are doubted wherever we go and whatever we do. People are always cynical and believe wholly that we have a natural potential to be cunning. We cannot all swindle you of your fortune *Laughs*

Vriksha: Is the swindling justified?

Nandini: Absolutely not! It’s the survival instinct ofcourse, but it’s very much in our control.

Vriksha: HOW can you control it? How can you be empowered?

Nandini: We all have the power to do wonderful things- you, me and the audience. Education is a transformational wand. Unfortunately, transgenders are deprived of it. They are deprived of opportunities and support. Their families and friends neglect them. The LAW neglects them. When we cannot all afford to empower ourselves, the government needs to do something to help us. That’s why you and I pay them taxes. It’s not easy for us. It’s incredibly hard. But it isn’t supposed to be. Humans have made life so hard for each other!

If only we didn’t move out during our transition..

Vriksha: If only you didn’t “have to” move out during your transition! Our outlook definitely needs changing. When an animal looks at you, it knows you’re human. It’s only when a human looks at you that you come across as a “different” human. I wish humans look at you, and everyone, the same way animals do. Humans have a lot to learn from animals!

Nandini: Indeed they do. My MBBS degree is as much worthy as it is when a cis-gendered man earns it. After all, I did toil for 8 years to earn it.

Vriksha: I want to be a doctor. I face half the challenges you do. When the going gets tough, I shall remember you. You have inspired me infinitely! Thank you!

Vriksha and Nandini, we’re at the end of this segment. It was absolutely nourishing to watch your conversation bloom and they’ve all heard you loud and clear. It was a delight to have you with us today. So, ladies and gentlemen, see you again in the next episode. Until then, signing off, Shubhang Mishra!

48 thoughts on “Ekta -The Talk Show- Ep 2

  1. Wow. Firstly, the idea behind this series is amazing – tackling issues in our country delicately yet conclusively.
    For a teenager to understand the depth of these issues is quite a feat, Sam.
    I think in India and in a lot of other parts of the world – age old taboos and perceptions have carried on – due to the lack of education and unchanging religious perceptions. It is only now with the internet and having access to global information that perceptions have slowly started to change in India. The government and the judicial system need to work in conjecture to protect and empower the LGBTQ community in India.
    Beautiful post!
    I’d love to recommend topics for this series, if you are ever looking for ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very very much for your lovely comment! This just made my day! 🤍 Thank you kindly!
      Tbh, I’m quite happy with how we’re progressing in terms of our mindsets.
      I’m very much open to suggestions 😀 Thank you so very much once again for this beautiful comment! 🙏🤍

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This may be a generated and hypothetical one ,but, next to real ,
    Portrayal of the social stigma.
    Honestly at first I thought it’s so detailed, I’ll read later , but I started to finish only , got glued to the screen for next 3 min, very well taken and executed😊💕

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is truly a great initiative to continue the current issues episode wise. There’s a good cause behind of this purpose, keep continuing dear Sam. Good concept and much needed change in the society. Hope we see the difference gradually, corporates are introducing the gender equality at work places thru D&I as LGBTQ n so on of course as a human colleagues must accept n support. Yes humans have so much to learn from animals 👌❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so so very much, dearest friend for your support and heart-warming comment! 💖 I’m truly greatful that you took the time to read this. Thank you very much! 🙏

      Like

  4. This is a great initiative, Sam. It’s amazing that you are raising awareness about the plight of transgenders and a view into the mindset of people who are scared of them. I hope that the newer generations are not so biased and full of stigma. Situations have to improve for them.

    Like

  5. Sahana, seriously this is a very important aspect you have highlighted through your post . Kudos to you. You have brought out the plight and challenges faced by the transgenders very well. I hope we as a society are more accepting of them and give them equal opportunities, moving on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so so very much! I’m so humbled to hear that from you.

      Good question 😄 Sam Sahana is my pen name. My official name is Samrakshni. I’m known among family and relatives as Sahana. My official name is shortened to Sam by friends and teachers. I was given 3 names when I was born, which happens to be a tradition. The third name is Ranjini, which is occasionally used. Sorry, can’t make it more confusing even if I try 😂😅🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Humans have made life so hard for each other!” I was telling a mate yesterday that I didn’t see a way out of the mess we’ve created and drowned ourselves. Nonetheless, you have done something great with this incredible piece, writing realities and sharing it, so we can all learn how to do better individually, and over time, an impact can be made through collective effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so so very much! 😀 Your comment is worded in a way that makes me ecstatic. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, I love your choice of words in comments and your style of writing in your own blog. Thank you so so very much! I’m humbled 🙏🤍

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s just too sweet of you Sahana! ♥️ Your own loveliness⚘ shines through your compliments and through your blogs! I cannot stop feeling amazed at how well you write at your age and with such extreme sensitivity. Let me confess I’m truly impressed!! 🌟💯And big thankss for all the nice things you say🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a brave post and I am totally supporting your initiative of helping educate people about the gender issues. I guess a lot of people are prejudiced only because people don’t really know. And the prejudice and bias the transgender people suffer under are unbelievably. It is so harsh and unrelenting. It only shows how discriminating our concept of gender is.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Omg SAM!! You are the most amazing and talented person I have in my life so far… Your words amaze me always and reading your writings gives me pleasure.. and by the way this idea of ekta show where you discuss about everyday political, social problems is just mind-blowing… Eagerly waiting for the next episode!!😉🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, just wow! Very well done dear sissy. 👏👏 I am amazed to see how you are so brilliant in addressing the most needed and yet the Taboo
    (I said Taboo because I’ve heard people saying it Taboo when someone talks about them ) topic.
    I like the idea of Ekta to discuss the social issues boldly. Keep up this great job dear Sam. I am impressed! 🤝❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so so very much for your amazing encouragement, dearest Akka! Your words make me absolutely ecstatic. Means a lot to me. Thanks a lot for taking the time to read my blogs and leaving such lovely comments. I truly admire you and your comments warm my soul. Thanks tonnes!🙏💖💐

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for the sharing a story that makes us relate, connect, be heard, be understood. Diversity is the door to the future but how Humans opens their heart, minds and soul to it is the key. Unity and Kindness in Diversity will lead to Joy and Prosperity…to all, for all.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Why sorry though? 🤔 Am I missing something? 🤔
        We all need some break and you especially deserve it being a working woman 😉 (I respect older working women a great deal as they have a lot of roles to juggle between).
        If you mean getting behind in reading blog posts, worry not! We all get REALLY busy and won’t always have time to read or comment on all posts on the reader 😁😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very sweet!!! I truly love to stay up on my followers/ friends which is another reason I’ve cut down on my posting. Sooo true!! but I want to..🤣🤣🤣 and I think I’m all caught up with your posts.❣️

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is relatable. I spend more time reading other blogs than writing my own even if I have a 100 ideas at the moment. Coz my WordPress friends matter to me a great deal 💖
        I email some of them regularly, follow them on Instagram and even chat with some of them on WhatsApp- we’ve become as close as or closer than friends from real life. It’s a real blessing 🙂
        PS: I genuinely hope my posts are worth your time and not otherwise if you’re caught up. Plz know that I truly appreciate it 😊💖🙏

        Like

  12. Pingback: Ekta- The Talk Show- Ep 3 – Diary of a Dreamer

  13. Pingback: Ekta- The Talk Show- Special Episode – Diary of a Dreamer

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